New York - Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Tuesday in a blitz of boasts, inflammatory comments and attacks on both fellow Republicans and President Barack Obama's administration.
"I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created," Trump said at the Trump Tower skyscraper in Manhattan on launching his bid for the Republican nomination.
The billionaire, widely seen as having almost no chance of winning the nomination, brings an outsized personality and a penchant for controversy to an unusually large group of Republicans vying for the presidency.
In highly provocative comments, Trump accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to live in the United States.
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"They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing their problems," he said. "They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting."
Eleven other Republicans have announced they are running for next November's election, the latest being former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who launched his candidacy on Monday.
Trump, who boasted of having $8.7 billion in net worth, accused Bush of being weak on education.
"How the hell can you vote for this guy?"
Trump, who owns several hotels and hosts the reality show "The Celebrity Apprentice" on NBC, toyed with running in past elections but decided against doing so.
He languishes in 12th place, ahead of former New York Governor George Pataki, in a Reuters/Ipsos online poll of 13 Republicans who have either declared their candidacies or are likely to. Bush led the poll.
In other surveys, Trump has high negative ratings, with more than 50 percent of Americans saying they will never consider voting for him. (Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by James Dalgleish)